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i have heard this a few times from good trainers, the structure etc tends to sooth them and something they can be exceptionally good at and they thrive on, thoughts??
 

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As I've posted before, it has been an essential component of successful rehabilitation of some of my most timid dogs--including some fosters. I'm lucky to have a supportive trainer who welcomes my fosters to his classes and is totally on the same page with using training to rehabilitate timid dogs.

I've sometimes had an experience about 3-4 weeks into a first obedience course where the dog just has this light bulb moment -- you can see it clearly when it happens. Its face lights up and eyes sparkle. It realizes it knows EXACTLY the right thing to do to make me happy, that good stuff is going to happen. In that instant, the world suddenly starts making sense for the dog and becomes predictable in a very reassuring way.

With at least one that I remember, when he had that moment, he started carrying his head up a little higher and squared his shoulders proudly. He was finally feeling proud to be doing something right. It caused his brain to reset on the fear, and was a turning point for him in shedding that past and emerging to be a much more confident, happy dog.

I've seen it many times. BUT: it takes the right trainer and the right obedience course. I'd never, ever take a dog like that through a course that was all about popping the collar constantly! Dogs like this need lots of rewards and praise to make the experience fun and wonderful, to build the self esteem. The trainer needs to understand and support this goal too.
 

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I had a timid, soft dog and she thrived on predictable routine (structure) and being told what to do. Decisions freaked her out and she would have these odd behavior meltdowns. However, I could do agility, rally, competitive obedience with her (and put about a dozen titles on her) no problem because she was perfectly happy performing when I was telling her exactly what to do. She also worked to please me, not for toys or treats. She never once chased a ball or tugged on a toy. She just wanted to be pumped up verbally and get lots of praise.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
great insights from both, thanks.

something productive and hopeful for all the my dog/pup is scared of everything folks, hope so.

more stories of triumph and challenges please
 

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I have a dog that acts dominant yet when push comes to shove, she backs off(fear based?)

She is NOT biddable and is running on her own agenda with a bit of anxiousness mixed in, not balanced. Food rewards only work when she is in her threshold.
She doesn't shut down, but goes into that 'red' zone that Cesar has over exposed.
I've seen it only a few times with her when she was immature, but know there is such a place in a dogs head.

Obedience doesn't work with her. She is not about pleasing anyone whatsoever.

And banging on her just ramps her up. So she is managed to stay within her thresholds and we don't expect what she cannot do. Accept the dog for what it is and not try to make it what it can never be.
 

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I have a dog that acts dominant yet when push comes to shove, she backs off(fear based?)

She is NOT biddable and is running on her own agenda with a bit of anxiousness mixed in, not balanced. Food rewards only work when she is in her threshold.
She doesn't shut down, but goes into that 'red' zone that Cesar has over exposed.
I've seen it only a few times with her when she was immature, but know there is such a place in a dogs head.

Obedience doesn't work with her. She is not about pleasing anyone whatsoever.

And banging on her just ramps her up. So she is managed to stay within her thresholds and we don't expect what she cannot do. Accept the dog for what it is and not try to make it what it can never be.
Interesting....this sounds a lot like Mike! He was not the least bit biddable, he had his own agenda....that, combined with a large dose of dog aggression made him NOT exactly the competition dog of my dreams. More like the competition dog of my NIGHTMARES. He had no interest in commerce, he had no interest in performing any behavior in exchange for a reward. Made it difficult to do a lot of rewards-based training! Things that had always worked well on other dogs didn't work with him at all.

But I chose to push on with him anyway. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't always "nice", but in the long run it was good for both of us. Sometimes I had to come up with some "creative compulsion." Sometimes I had to hold my ground and wait him out, and keep his options limited until he chose to cooperate. I couldn't work with him the way I worked with other GSDs. In the long run tho I think he did pretty darn well! And he did eventually learn to enjoy training.
 

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I chose to wash Onxy from competition....she has great tracking and herding instincts but I don't think trialing her in either would get us anywhere, she'd try to eat the judge(and the fact that herding venues around here is nil)
She has a good life, but I wasn't going to push her to please 'my' dreams. Instead I got a pup that would/could do what "I" want to do.

Congrats on the success with Mike, I bet you have become an exceptional handler dealing with his quirks! The challenges must have been frustrating, yet highly rewarding.
 

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I chose to wash Onxy from competition....she has great tracking and herding instincts but I don't think trialing her in either would get us anywhere, she'd try to eat the judge(and the fact that herding venues around here is nil)
She has a good life, but I wasn't going to push her to please 'my' dreams. Instead I got a pup that would/could do what "I" want to do.

Congrats on the success with Mike, I bet you have become an exceptional handler dealing with his quirks! The challenges must have been frustrating, yet highly rewarding.
Fortunately Mike LOVES people!! if the way he felt about people was anything like the way he feels about random dogs, he wouldn't ever have set foot in any competition ring.

You're right, I learned a TON from dealing with his quirks. He did make me a better trainer. And I fully believe that the obedience work made him a better dog. The way he was as a youngster, no thanks I never want that again and wouldn't wish it on anyone.

I recently looked at a video of Mike doing a Utility run....there's not a lot of precision, but he looks like he's having a blast! That makes it all worth while :)
 

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...no thanks I never want that again and wouldn't wish it on anyone.

I recently looked at a video of Mike doing a Utility run....there's not a lot of precision, but he looks like he's having a blast! That makes it all worth while :)
first point, i think most people here care less about where or how you got yr dog or even yr dog's pedigree - it's all about ok you got this dog and you got this problem, new beginning starts now.

second point, thats an awesome inspirational story.
 

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I have a nerve bag pitbull. She's scared of many things. Six months ago, she started growling and freaking out at me when I tried to clean her paw. I took her to her first obedience class and her confidence flourished. The classes force me to pay positive attention to her and work on my communication skills.
We are now in an advanced class and she is the most responsive and steady dog in it. I think the clarity of good behavior in class helps her relax. The rules are clear, rewards are consistent and she has my undivided attention. It builds her confidence and trust.
 

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Had a female GSD that I was working with for about 9 months. Highly dog and people reactive. Socialized the heck out of her, took her everywhere, did a lot of OB had medium drive for a toy would work for one but nervy to a level I haven't seen before. She responded well to OB and it did give her a certain level of comfort. Bottom line was it a cure all, nope. But it did provide her comfort and routine to fall into when things were stressful to her. It also gave me a means of control that made her safer to be around.

Bottom line no two nervy / timid dogs are the same. There are different levels of intensity to the behavior's expression, different reasons for the behavior and different ways to address them.
Some dogs can be brought out others are hopeless. Personally I am not interested in ever owning another nervy dog. Just not very rewarding.
 

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I had a timid, soft dog and she thrived on predictable routine (structure) and being told what to do. Decisions freaked her out and she would have these odd behavior meltdowns.
:thumbup: Yes and yes, structure gives Jazzy confidence. It's taking a nervous dog and taking all the stress away by telling them exactly what to do while stressed. For Jazzy she runs to me and I fix the problem for her rather then her having to figure it out for herself. She has confidence because I have confidence and she can trust me to protect her

She also worked to please me, not for toys or treats. She never once chased a ball or tugged on a toy. She just wanted to be pumped up verbally and get lots of praise.
That's Jazzy to a T. She'll work for a smile from me and would literally walk over burning coals if I asked her to. Very eager to please, even when it's pushing her boundaries. She won't ever be more then a pet, but that's where she's comfortable and we're both ok with it.
 
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